The Centre has sanctioned a research and development (R&D) project on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - two unique natural compounds found in cannabis (also known as ganja).
The narcotics department within the revenue wing of the Union Ministry of Finance has given the sanction of the research for which the cannabis will be grown at Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), reports Times of India.
"CSIR-CIMAP wants to start R&D work on genetic improvement of identification and selection of THC, CBD and cannabinioderpene - a rich strain-level genotype of cannabis - at their office in Lucknow, UP, with its resource centre in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. CSIR has, therefore, requested to allow them to collect cannabis germplasm and grow it in their fields," the Centre's note said.
The note added that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) policy of the country emphasised on development of drug varieties with low THC content, which could be exploited for industrial and horticulture purposes.
As per the report, the director (narcotics control), in the note which has been sent to all state governments, has cited a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert committee report on drug dependence.
Taking cognisance of the medical use of the low THC cannabis, the WHO has proposed change in scope of control of cannabis-related substances in the international conventions.
While the CBD is extracted from cannabis hemp and is used in gels, oils and food supplements apart from having medicinal use, the THC, on the other hand, is a psychoactive compound present in the cannabis.